Recently, I hosted a gathering of family and friends in south Georgia, Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club. Located on the water, with beautiful grounds and walking trails, the conference center has a good restaurant open from breakfast through dinner. The staff is friendly and helpful. Down by the marina the young people liked the casual bar and grill where a live band plays on weekends.
The weather couldn’t have been better. Warm sunny days and cool evenings. Almost sounds like the mountains where I live now. Perfect for fishing, for hiking, for playing golf, and for taking family pictures. The town nearest the resort is Cordele, Georgia, just off of Interstate 75.
Those of us who planned to stay overnight were housed in a villa, where each had a private room with refrigerator, and a private screened porch overlooking the lake. My room was fresh and clean with no chemical smells from “air freshener” or harsh cleaning products. I requested housekeeping do this for me, and I was happy to find Laverne had done everything just as I wanted and needed.
My brother Max, who has been very ill, was there and he even stood at the podium after our meal and told some of his famous stories about his brothers, Rex and Hal, and about his favorite topic, our brother, Ray.
|Max, age 84, tells stories about his brothers and himself|
Our afternoon entertainment included a trombone solo by thirteen year old Coy, my great nephew who is named for my father. The piece he played, we learned later, was a haunting melody written for the people of Japan after the tsunami.
|Coy White playing a beautiful trombone solo|
|Newest member of our family, Elliot with his proud father|
Our Master of Ceremonies was Stu, my BIL, married to my sister Gay, and he was his witty self, doing a great job of keeping things moving. Gay, who is shy and never speaks before a group, stood up and talked about her life-long relationship, from her earliest memory, with our brother, Max. She had us laughing and smiling and even crying before she finished. I wish I had it recorded because I’ll not likely have the experience of hearing her do that again.
|Stu Moring relaxing after acting as MC for the reunion|
My cousin Pam read her lovely poetry. One was about her sister who died at the age of 24, mother of two little children who are all grown up now. One of those children, her son Brad, was present.
Good food and good fun
During the entire meal, which drew high praise from our guests, a slideshow of family pictures flashed on a large screen so everyone could see them. Even after the planned events were over, most of the family lingered and sat around commenting on the pictures as we ran the slideshow again. It seemed to me that no one was anxious to see the day end.
What the future holds
I looked at all those people who are related to me in some way, and I felt a huge lump in my throat. I wanted to hug each one of them and thank them for being a part of my life. My nephews and nieces, who will carry on the family gatherings in the future, will talk about my mother and father, my brothers and sisters, long after we are all gone. I hope they laugh as they did this day, and that they will feel blessed to have had some pretty neat ancestors.
As each one left late in the afternoon, they hugged me and thanked me for organizing the reunion and bringing us all together. I thanked them for coming because it meant so much for me to see all of my family together for a happy event and to see them enjoy each other in a gorgeous setting in the land where I was born and grew up. South Georgia is unusually pretty in the spring, and Lake Blackshear Resort is one of the prettiest places to see it.